Jonathan David Collins is not afraid to be “framed.” In fact, the 30-year-old is willing to duel anyone for the privilege.
His new book, Into the Frame, invites readers into Collins’ world of wheelchair fencing in Great Britain and takes its title from the metal frame to which the athletes’ apparatus are fastened to keep them from tipping.
“I didn’t know what to expect when a friend introduced me to the Chichester Fencing Club for the first time,” Collins said in an email interview from his home in Selsey, on the southern coast of England.Collins himself has been finding workarounds in sports, and life, since he was born with spina bifida and hydrocephalus. Over the last five years, his physical and mental adaptations have involved competitive sword fighting. Adding to his personal challenges is that he’s the only wheelchair fencer competing in the United Kingdom who is severely sight impaired.
Collins admitted that getting acquainted with the basics was intimidating but impactful.
“I was kitted up in the proper clothing. I was given a mask to put on, and when a weapon was placed in my hand, it felt amazing and I really felt its power,” he said.
Wheelchair fencing is an original Paralympic sport developed in post-World War II England. Minor modifications to the International Fencing Federation (FIE) rules allow disabled fencers to fence all three standard Olympic weapons – foil, sabre and épée. The biggest difference is each fencer’s seated position.
“In able-bodied, fencers lunge forwards and backwards, along a 14-meter [about 46-foot] long area called the piste.”
Read the full story here – Anchored But Agile
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